Myrtle Beach area Rolling Thunder honoring women veterans
On April 6, the Grand Strand chapter of Rolling Thunder hosted the second Salute to Women of the Military, Past and Present at the Grand Strand Senior Center at 1 p.m.
Jean DePace of the Calabash area, one of the eight female Rolling Thunder members on the event committee, said only a few women veterans attended last year. But this year will be much different. On Sunday, DePace said they had registered 76 veterans, active military or Blue Star mothers whose daughters are serving.
All female veterans or active military female members are invited. March 15 is the last day to register.
LaPace said they have registered 12 World War II veterans in addition to veterans who served during the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Shield, Desert Storm and other conflicts.
“I get to hear all the stories and they’re just amazing women,” LaPace said.
Although the women served in many different times, places and positions, they have one thing in common – and that is the pride they feel. LaPace said one WWII veteran in her 90s told her that she still remembered clearly the first time she put on her uniform and would never forget the feeling of pride she had at that time.
Ann Hampton of Easley, the mother of U.S. Army Captain Kimberley Hampton, will be one of the speakers.
Captain Kimberly Hampton was the first female pilot to be shot down and killed by hostile fire in American military history, and the first S.C. female to die in Iraq. She was killed when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down near Fallijah on Jan. 2, 2004. “Kimberly’s Flight,” a book written by Ann Hampton and journalist Anna Simon, was published in 2012. The Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Foundation celebrates her life and honors her memory. It raises funds for scholarships for Easley High School students, supports the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library, military families, wounded warriors and families who have lost loved ones in combat.
Rolling Thunder is a national nonprofit mainly focused on the POW-MIA issue. More than 90 chapters across America, which include motorcycle riders and non-riders, contribute to their communities in numerous ways. In 2012, the Grand Strand chapter raised and donated more than $30,000 along the Grand Strand and surrounding areas.
The event to honor women veterans is dedicated to Frank Brincat, a chapter member who has often spoken about the fact that women veterans do not receive enough recognition, LaPace said.
Brincat served as a gunner on a B17 in the Army Air Corps 388th Bomb Group during WWII and was held as a German prisoner of war from Dec. 30, 1943, to May 1945, she said.
“He’s a remarkable man,” LaPace said.
Rolling Thunder has several sponsors for the event, including Jud Kuhn Chevrolet, which has made the largest contribution, and is looking for more.
The Grand Strand Senior Center is at 1268 21st Ave., Myrtle Beach. To be among the women honored or to help sponsor the event, call LaPace at 910-579-3668 or 914-620-5956.
Reach PEGGY MISHOE at 365-3885 or firstname.lastname@example.org.